Sen. Kelly: CT Democrats decline to close election “corruption loophole”

September 26, 2023

CT Dems pass on opportunity to “put their outrage where their mouth is”


Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly today blasted majority Senate Democrats for repeatedly voting against several special session measures aimed at addressing known voting abuses and closing loopholes in Connecticut’s election system which have been exposed by the Bridgeport absentee ballots fiasco.


Senate Democrats voted as a bloc against Senate Republican amendments which sought to:


1) Eliminate absentee ballot drop boxes
2) Suspend the use of drop boxes until the Bridgeport’s elections monitor issues a report
3) Prevent the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballots
4) Waiving fees for driver’s licenses and photo IDs and requiring a copy in the AB envelope
5) Impose a mandatory one-year prison sentence for those found guilty of absentee ballot fraud


“Republicans provided Connecticut Democrats the opportunity to put their outrage where their mouth is today and to vote for ways to tighten up this process and to remove the opportunities for corruption that currently exist,” Sen. Kelly said.


“They had an opportunity to fix a corrupt system and close the corruption loophole. The declined to act. What you saw today is a united Republican Party standing up for the one-person, one-vote Constitutional right. For years, we’ve had concerns with the absentee ballot drop boxes. But what’s different today is we have video. The Bridgeport video shows exactly what we were fearful of. There has been a lot of ‘outrage’ on both sides of the aisle. Today, we gave the majority the opportunity to close the loophole that now exists in our election law which gives an opportunity to those that want to corrupt the system to do so. You see it in video in Bridgeport. To quote the author Tom Peters, “If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”


“Democrats would like to limit this fiasco to Bridgeport, but history has shown that it has happened in West Haven, it has happened in Stamford, and it has happened across the board. The biggest problem is the remedy for bad actors: It takes years for anything to happen. We have to have a deterrent to that, so that when someone decides to corrupt the system, and they get caught, they need to go to jail. It’s as simple as that.


“What’s at risk is our elections and people’s faith in those elections – and thereby Democracy itself. Bridgeport is where we have it on video, but you’ve got to look across the board. We need to tighten up the system. What we need to do is instill trust, faith and confidence among voters in the electoral system. Because not only do we have the video now, we have more stories emerging from Bridgeport: allegations about the Rental Rebate program, Section 8, food pantries. There’s a whole other layer of stories that are coming out of this.


“What’s more important in a Democracy than the vote and The People’s Voice? We want to make sure that the vote can be relied on and that it’s a fair election. Senate Majority Democrats – all of them – had no appetite for any of it. Where there is a will there’s a way, but the majority has no will for reform. Why? Because the current system works for them.”


Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, Ranking Senator on the Government Administration and Elections Committee, added, “This is about the integrity of our elections and respecting the sanctity of every eligible person’s right to have their vote counted. I do not want one single voter to be disenfranchised. We are responsible to the people of Connecticut to ensure that every election is legitimate. The video from Bridgeport shows what can happen at the hands of alleged bad actors and now the world is paying attention. What we saw in Bridgeport, if proven true, is a crushing blow to confidence in our elections. This is disenfranchisement on steroids.”